The classic design of a mosque makes access difficult for people who have difficulty with mobility, removing shoes, hearing the call to prayer, and generally using facilities. The three critical elements for making mosques accessible are the prayer hall, the ablution area and sanitary facilities.
People cannot enter the mosque with a personal mobility device or shoes. This is to stop dirt from the outside entering the mosque. But it also creates major barriers, especially for older people. The United Arab Emirates, and Dubai in particular, is keen to promote the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of life. Consequently, the Ministry of Community Development commissioned an access plan and that includes mosques. As a result, Nazem Fawzi Al-Mansoor has come up with a checklist for making mosques accessible.
The checklist includes some basic features found anywhere such as the width of doorways. Seats for shoe removal, space to park mobility devices, and an accessible ablution area feature in the list.
Photos: Bolo Hauz Mosque, Bukhara, Uzbekistan.